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is this really feasable?:confused:

SHANGHAI will join more than 70 cities across China next year to promote a no-car day and encourage commuters to use cleaner forms of transport.

Taking a cue from , China has set aside the week of September 16-22, 2007, as its first public transport week. And on the final day, private car owners will be asked to leave their vehicles at home and ride bikes, use mass transit or walk to work, school and shopping, Qiu Baoxing, deputy minister of construction, told a national meeting in Beijing on Saturday.

If all private cars stayed off the streets for 24 hours, China would save 33 million liters of gasoline, reduce urban pollution 90 percent and prevent an untold number of deaths and injuries from traffic accidents, authorities said.

In addition to Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hangzhou have also promised to join in.

Authorities said compliance by motorists will be voluntary but that some streets in all the cities taking part will be blocked to private cars.

France initiated the no-car day in 1998, and two years later, the European Union's environmental agency kicked off European Mobility Week on September 16-22, which also featured a car-free day. The environmental exercise has since expanded to more than 1,000 cities across Europe.

Qiu said China's program is designed to raise public awareness about the need for greater environmental protection by encouraging urbanites to use less polluting forms of transport.

Rush-hour traffic jams often turn major roads in big cities into parking lots, Qiu told the meeting.

In downtown Beijing, 60 percent of the 183 major intersections suffer serious jam-ups, Qiu said.

China's capital has 2.82 million cars on its streets, and the number of new ones is increasing by 1,000 a day, cutting vehicle speeds to about half of what they were 10 years ago. Across China, a city bus commute takes 10 minutes longer than it did a decade ago, and that's why 70 percent of urban residents are dissatisfied with bus services, according to Qiu.

Traffic jams cost the country about 250 billion yuan (US$31.65 billion) in lost productivity in 2003, or two percent of that year's gross domestic product, the official said.

Qiu urged city governments to improve public transport efficiency, give priority to buses, shorten transfer time between buses and invest more funds into the public transport system.

Fewer than 10 percent of city residents use public transport across the country on average, he said.

In large cities the figure is about 20 percent, compared with 40 to 60 percent in major metropolitan areas in Europe, Japan and South America.

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